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Thirteen Things About Thirteen

My son's room. One day after being cleaned.

Two Fridays ago my son turned 13 years old. We took him and five of his friends to Six Flags Great Adventures and celebrated his official entrance into teenage life. Three years ago I remember telling him, "You're one of the sweetest kids I've ever known...stay that way." He asked me what I meant and I went on to explain he was the funniest, most genuine, polite, friendly young man I'd ever met and I didn't want him to lose any of this as they are potent character strengths for success in life.

Now he's thirteen and he's not so sweet anymore. My son is quite the looker, a young man who has the young girls flocking to him. Unlike me when I was his age, he seems to be turning into a ladykiller (when his hair is cut, his clothes are ironed, and he doesn't smell). I tease him that he will be the king of the first date as he still hasn't mastered eating a meal without wearing his food on his face, hands and a decent amount of his clothing. Lately, his favorite response to my teasing is, "whatever". And "whatever" probably best describes his disposition on everything except Wii, xBox and Jordans.

I've mentioned in several posts that on most days I daydream about choking him, throwing rocks at him, and generally torturing him, probably because I'm not anything close to the disciplinarian my father was when he reared me. But I love my son for who he is and who he is not, what he aspires to be, what he chooses not to be and what he cannot be. He is a young black man in training and I expend a lot of mental energy making sure most of my words to him are worthwhile, and all my lessons truly are lessons. But I also like to have plain old fun with him.

These are the thirteen things about him turning thirteen that perplex, inspire, elate and deflate me.
  1. His room is clean only on the day he cleans it.
  2. His room smells like burning onions and musty feet.
  3. He can send 300 text messages in two weeks time or less.
  4. He exercises regularly and does his best to eat right.
  5. During the week he asks me how my day went --- everyday, without fail.
  6. He still wants to do things with me and loves spending time with his family.
  7. We talk superheroes, sports, cars and Sponge Bob, Avatar, and Ben 10.
  8. Sex.
  9. He's picked up my penmanship and every once in awhile, I hear my words coming out of his mouth when he's correcting others.
  10. He's polite in public and holds doors open for women.
  11. He's my wife's little man, and my daughter's Big Brother.
  12. He asks me first about questionable movies, music and television shows and has the discernment to know what is inappropriate despite his belief that he's grown.
  13. He's doing a great job being a great kid.
This list could go much longer, but number 13 sums it up. I'm doing best to keep it this way.

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